Teenage Katie and Co.

This post isn’t about age. For the love of pete – I think I’ve covered that topic. (More than once.) It’s about time passing, and what changes, and what stays the same. (That’s teenage me above – much has changed… including the size of my glasses.)

It seems a little cluttered to go into all the details here, but I’ve been running into high school friends lately and pondering/celebrating/appreciating/questioning/mourning my relationships with them.

High school isn’t easy. I believe I made some questionable choices. Hats worn to school. My predilection for white socks with loafers. I could go on.

But the most important choices we make — then and now — are about people.

In some cases, I pat the 16-year-old me on the back, and cheer her on. I look at many of the people who were important to me in high school, and I still find them wonderful. Funny, engaging, supportive, inspiring. People who, after all this time, share my values, make me laugh, and put me at ease. My friend Sherri would remember how these people became important to me — she remembers everything about high school. It’s a little foggy to me, but I find joy in the fact that after all this time, many friends still bring me delight. Good choices, Teenage Katie.

On the other hand, sometimes I missed the boat. People I knew very lightly at the time (Kathleen!) turn out to be smart, challenging, entertaining and like-minded. Facebook, god help me, is a way to connect with people who I admire and respect but didn’t keep in touch with and would otherwise never have crossed paths with again. I wish I could go back and spend some of that abundant free time making connections that I didn’t take advantage of at time.

The saddest and most painful pieces of the puzzle are those people that I’ve lost along the way. Sometimes there’s a dramatic split. More often, a slow drift that leaves me amazed at the lack of common ground. Either way, I have hard time letting go. Growing away from friends, I’m told, is a part of life. But I struggle with it.

For today, I’ll focus on the positive – the people who have been and are still close to my heart and who continually surprise me with their insight and humor. They matter more to me than I guessed 20 years ago, and more than they realize now. I feel clever for having gotten some things right.

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